Thursday, March 31, 2011

Gary Herbert Vetoes 5 Day Work Week HB 328 Saves 3 day weekend for state employees

The Legislature passed Reb. Mike Noel's bill to return to a five day work week with a large enough margin in both the House and the Senate to over ride any veto by the Governor and yet he still vetoed it.  HB 328 status   

The House voted 62-11 to support the return to the five day work week House vote,  and the senate voted 18-8  senate vote to return to a five day work week.  Scott Jenkins was the Senate sponsor with 64 co-sponsors.  HB 328 text

At the very least this should give the clear message a veto proof majority of Utah's legislature prefer the five day work week to the governor.

If the intention is to save money why not just shut down ALL government operations ALL the time?
Governor Huntsman changed to a four day work week to save money, however all indications are that the projected savings did not occur.

Surveys over the years have shown that Utah State workers prefer the four day work week and like having a three day weekend.  When there is a holiday on Monday all state offices are closed four days in a row- go figure the state employees like three to four consecutive days off in a row.

Now if only the private sector could figure out how to make enough money in four days to close on Fridays, Utah could live happily ever after with a three day weekend for everyone, including grocery stores, doctors and hospitals, restaurants, schools, etc.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

April 1 Last day to file for candidate for Utah County Republican Officers

The Steering Committee has set April 1, 2011 as the filing deadline for candidate filing for 2011 officers of the Utah County Republican Party.  Those officers include Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

Any registered Republican can file for any of the positions including the State Central Committee.

You can access the list of those that have already filed here:  Utah County GOP site documents-secretary-candidate filings

You can also file for one of 20 positions Utah County has on the Republican State Central Committee.  There are 180 State Central Committee members and they meet quarterly, around the state.  If you miss three meetings you are automatically replaced so you must plan to attend to stay on the committee.

To apply e-mail the party secretary of your intentions.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

2011 State Republican Organizing Convention June 18, South Towne Expo

The Utah State Republican Party 2011 Organizing Convention is Saturday June 18, 2011
  10:00 a.m. at the South Towne Exposition Center, Sandy.

There is a family Fundraising Event June 17.

If you did not receive a post card and you are a state delegate contact Lisa Shepherd to find out why.

May 19, 5 p.m. is the deadline to file for State Party Office.  Elections will be held for State GOP chair, State GOP Vice Chair, State GOP Secretary, and State GOP Treasurer.  You have to be a registered Republican to file to run.

June 10, midnight is the deadline to resign or be replaced as a state delegate.  Any replacements not done by this time, will NOT be allowed to VOTE at the state convention on June 18.
For more information visit  Utah State Republican  
or call 801-533-9777.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Brad Daw voted to repeal HB 477 and Margaret Dayton voted against repeal

The Utah Legislature met in a special session on Friday March 25, to vote to repeal HB 477.  Senator Margaret Dayton opposed the repeal and voted against HB 1001, sponsored by Rep. John Dougall to repeal HB 477.

Senators absent and voted against repealing HB 477:   Senate Vote

       Dayton          Reid            Waddoups        
       Madsen          Thatcher        
       ABSENT 5
       Adams           Christensen     Stowell         
       Buttars         Okerlund        
House members absent and voted against repealing HB 477:  House vote

NAYS - 3
      Hendrickson       Noel              Webb              
      Arent             Chavez-Houck      Mathis            Seelig            
      Barrus            Draxler           McIff             Wilson            
      Biskupski         Harper            Morley            Wright            
Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune
Famous quotes regarding HB 477 during the 2011 legislative session quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune include:   "On the other hand, Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, had this to say about why HB477 was rushed through in a matter of days:
“Nobody likes to do this in an election year…So now is the time.”
He also said: “We want to do it today. It will complicate matters if it has a weekend to fester.”
Tribune Legislator's own words tell sad tale of HB 477

Legislative 60 Meeting with Legislators April 5 Cherry Hill Elementary

Come Speak with your legislators
Legislative Report
Tuesday April 5, 2011
7:30-9:00 pm
Cherry Hill Elementary School
250 E. 1650 So. Orem

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Governor Herbert signed HB 75 which 60% of Utahns Oppose

According to a Dan Jones survey 60% of those surveyed opposed lifting a 1,000 foot gun-free perimeter around schools, and Governor Herbert signed the bill into law anyway.  Deseret News

HB75 eliminates a 1,000-foot gun-free buffer around schools. It was against the law for individuals without a concealed weapon permit to openly carry a firearm in that area.   During the Senate debate, Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, said Herbert would veto the bill if the Legislature didn’t leave in place a 50-foot buffer, but the governor signed the legislation anyway.

Monday, March 21, 2011

123 bills passed the legislature on the final day

The legislature passed a total of 504 bills, however 123 of them were passed on the final day. 
About half of the bills 243 were passed in the just the last four days.  Salt Lake Tribune

24% of the total bills passed were passed on the last day.  With about 50 % passing in the last 4 days.  I wonder why the legislature needs a 45 day session at tax payer expense.  How much money could be saved if the legislature cut the length of their session in half.

Why should Utah taxpayers pay for the legislature to meet 45 days when clearly they don't need that much time?  I would be happy with only 243 bills that they passed in 4 days.  I personally don't think Utah needs 782 bills or resolutions introduced each year and maybe Utah doesn't need 504 new laws every year either.

As a former school teacher I would like to ask what happened in the rest of the 45 day session.

 What would happen in the classrooms in Utah if teachers taught half of everything the students learned in only 4 days?

Salt Lake Tribune Photo Mike Waddoups Center

What form of government is Utah's Legislature?

Is Utah a one party state?  In both 2010 and 2011 9 out of every 10 bills passed in the legislature were sponsored by the Republicans, while 23% of the legislators are Democrats.  My son feels this is fair because Utah is 90% Republican.  But I question that logic.  Is Utah really 90 % Republican and is the voice of every voter in Utah really heard by the legislature and governor?

 Salt Lake Tribune

According to the Salt Lake Tribune "The GOP as a group passed 68 percent of the bills that it introduced. Democrats passed only 47 percent of their bills. House Democrats managed to pass only 38 percent of their bills."

Democrats had more power than ever this legislative session as Republicans had difficulty agreeing on many issues, including immigration.  The change in leadership in the house also created a divide in the House Republicans who were not completely united behind the new elected speaker as the votes were extremely close and Rep Craig Frank campaigned to help Lockhart get elected speaker and then lost his seat and voice in the house.

Republicans were also not united on a solution to Rep Craig Frank living outside his district due to a mapping error in an election office, consequently Democratic votes were needed to pass more bills in 2011 legislature than ever before.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Utah County Lawmakers pass 84 bills in 2011 Legislative session

The 2011 Legislative Session had a record number of bills proposed and according to the Daily Herald Utah County lawmakers proposed 151 bills and passed 84, or 56% of their proposed bills.  Daily Herald

Utah legislature also spent 13 hours and 34 minutes debating message bills to the federal government.  Representative Dave Clark and Brad Daw's bills calling for constitutional conventions were among the bills spending tax dollars to "send a message to Washington DC."   City Weekly

According to City Weekly Senator Curtis Bramble, R-Provo was the most successful Republican in the 2011 legislative session, passing 21 bills and two resolutions out of 37 proposed pieces of legislation or a 56.76%. 

The most successful Democrat was Senator Ben McAdams, D-Salt Lake City, who passed 11 bills out of 19 he proposed with a 57.89%.

In   both the 2010 and 2011 Legislative sessions 9 out of every 10 bills passed were introduced by the Republicans. Deseret News

Salt Lake Tribune


Friday, March 18, 2011

Governor signed HB 219 Utah first state with state-designated firearm

(Scott Sommerdorf l The Salt Lake Tribune) The commemorative .22 cal Browning handgun given to the Governor by Christopher Browning, the great grandson of John M. Browning. Utah Governor Gary Herbert made a formal presentation of the resolution declaring Monday. 1/24/2011 as John M. Browning Day to Christopher Browning, the great grandson of John M. Browning, at the noon ceremony on the capitol steps.  Salt Lake Tribune

According to Robert Gehrke's story in the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah is the first state ever to have a state designated firearm.

I did note in my previous post, I wondered how many states have as many state designated items as Utah see Utah Code 63G-1-601 in previous blog.

I wonder if this gift to the Governor had any thing to do with the state-designation of the firearm, which then leads me to wonder how many items listed in the previous post resulted in priceless gifts to the governor and or legislature.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

HB 219 waiting for Governor to sign Browning automatic pistol state firearm

Photos:  M1911 Automatic pistol above, John M. Browning below.

House sponsor Carl Wimmer and senate sponsor Mark Madsen's HB 219 designating the John M. Browning designed M1911 automatic pistol as the state firearm passed the House with the senate amendment 47-24 with 4 absent on February 15. 

The House legislators that voted against this bill are:

Arent             Cosgrove          Fisher, Julie     Poulson           
      Biskupski         Cox               Hemingway         Richardson        
      Briscoe           Dougall           King              Seelig            
      Brown, D          Edwards           Litvack           Watkins           
      Butterfield       Eliason           Moss              Wheatley          
      Chavez-Houck      Fisher, Janice    Nielson           Wiley     

The Senators who voted against this bill are:
  NAYS 7
       Davis           Mayne           Morgan          Romero          
       Jones           McAdams         Robles          

I find the following Utah law most interesting both in size of Utah's official designation as well as the scope, including a cooking pot, folk dance, fossil, gem, grass, two vegetables, and now a firearm.  Do other states have similar laws or is Utah the leader in state's trying to pass more laws each year than the previous year?

This bill amends Utah Code 63G-1-601 as follows:  Note line 38

      Section 1. Section 63G-1-601 is amended to read:
             25           63G-1-601. State symbols.
             26          (1) Utah's state animal is the elk.
             27          (2) Utah's state bird is the sea gull.
             28          (3) Utah's state centennial astronomical symbol is the Beehive Cluster located in the
             29      constellation of Cancer the Crab.

             30          (4) Utah's state centennial star is Dubhe, one of the seven bright stars composing the
             31      Big Dipper in the constellation Ursa Major.
             32          (5) Utah's state centennial tartan, which honors the first Scots known to have been in
             33      Utah and those Utahns of Scottish heritage, shall have a pattern or repeating-half-sett of
             34      white-2, blue-6, red-6, blue-4, red-6, green-18, red-6, and white-4 to represent the tartan worn
             35      anciently by the Logan and Skene clans, with the addition of a white stripe.
             36          (6) Utah's state cooking pot is the dutch oven.
             37          (7) Utah's state emblem is the beehive.
             38          (8) Utah's state firearm is the John M. Browning designed M1911 automatic pistol.
             39          [(8)] (9) Utah's state fish is the Bonneville cutthroat trout.
             40          [(9)] (10) Utah's state flower is the sego lily.
             41          [(10)] (11) Utah's state folk dance is the square dance, the folk dance that is called,
             42      cued, or prompted to the dancers and includes squares, rounds, clogging, contra, line, and
             43      heritage dances.
             44          [(11)] (12) Utah's state fossil is the Allosaurus.
             45          [(12)] (13) Utah's state fruit is the cherry.
             46          [(13)] (14) Utah's state vegetable is the Spanish sweet onion.
             47          [(14)] (15) Utah's historic state vegetable is the sugar beet.
             48          [(15)] (16) Utah's state gem is topaz, as is prominently found in the Thomas Mountain
             49      Range in Juab County, Utah.
             50          [(16)] (17) Utah's state grass is Indian rice grass.
             51          [(17)] (18) Utah's state hymn is "Utah We Love Thee" by Evan Stephens.
             52          [(18)] (19) Utah's state insect is the honeybee.
             53          [(19)] (20) Utah's state mineral is copper.
             54          [(20)] (21) Utah's state motto is "Industry."
             55          [(21)] (22) Utah's state railroad museum is Ogden Union Station.
             56          [(22)] (23) Utah's state rock is coal.
             57          [(23)] (24) Utah's state song is "Utah This is the Place" by Sam and Gary Francis.

             58          [(24)] (25) Utah's state tree is the blue spruce.

Salt Lake Tribune: Senate approves official state firearm

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The National Society of Professional Journalists to present Gary Herbert Black Hole Award

 Salt Lake Tribune
The National Society of Professional Journalists plans to present Gov. Gary Herbert with a first-ever Black Hole award Wednesday to highlight Utah's new law HB 477, which makes text messages private, increases fees for records requests, as well as creating an unlimited time for government agencies to respond to GRAMA requests.

This week is sunshine week an annual initiative that began in 2002 to promote stronger transparency in government.  Nominations for the Black Hole award were collected from all over the country, however

David Cuillier, SPJ's Freedom of Information Committee chief and a journalism professor at the University of Arizona said there was no question the award should go to Gary Herbert as the chief executive of the state of Utah.  KSL

"The SPJ Black Hole Award for 2011 goes to the Utah Legislature and Gov. Gary Herbert for plunging their state into an abyss of secrecy through the most regressive piece of freedom of information legislation in recent history.

On Tuesday, March 8, Herbert signed HB477 into law, which will take effect July 1. The legislation makes major changes to the state Government Records Access and Management Act, including: . . . ."
"This isn't about protecting privacy of citizens or saving tax dollars. This is about hiding shady dealings to protect the privacy of officials so they can fool the public without recourse."
Black Hole Award

Society of Professional Journalists

Salt Lake Tribune

Deseret News

Saturday, March 12, 2011

HB 220 United States Government a Republic Waiting for Governor Signature

Mike Morley's bill  "requires instruction in forms of government, including the United States' form of    government, a republic; and  requires school curricula to include a thorough study of American historical  documents," text, is now waiting the Governor's signature as it passed both sections of the legislature.  Status link

Missing from the bill are the specific instructions for implementing the instruction of "the United States form of government is a republic," including lesson plans, required manuals and text books that can and can't be used in history classes.  Also missing are which classes are required by HB 220 to teach that the US form of government is a Republic.  Does this bill require this instruction in ONLY United States History high school classes or is it required in every class K-12?  Is it also required in Social Studies classes and world history studies as well?

And last but not least, how will the student's knowledge of this information be evaluated?  What will be the method of determining if each instructor is in violation of this law and what will be the penalty for teachers and schools not found compliant?

I guess the answers to these questions will be found in the 2012 legislative session where possibly this bill can be fixed after the legislature has had time to identify text books that can be used in the Utah Classrooms and those that cannot be used in Utah History classes because they will violate this Utah law.


Senate Bill 59 Grading Schools Waiting for Governor Signature

SB 59 would assign letter grades A,B,C,D, or F to schools based on student achievement.  Senator Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, sponsored this bill emulating Florida's school's grading system.

This bill would replace the U-PASS system that was used by Utah in the past.

On March 9, 2011, the House voted 39-32 with 4 absent to pass Senate Bill 59 , sponsored by Wayne L. Niederhauser, with House Sponsor: Gregory H. Hughes.   House vote

Text of SB 59

Deseret News

Monday, March 7, 2011

Margaret Dayton and Brad Daw voted for HB 477

cartoon link

Less than 48 hours AFTER the first public hearing on Dougal's Government Records amendment making sweeping changes to the Open Records Laws in Utah, the senate voted 21 to 7 with one absent to PASS the bill.

Daw joined the 61 House votes and Dayton was part of the 21 Senate votes.  Even if Governor Herbert vetoes this bill, the legislature has the majority to over ride any vetoes, unless some legislators change their vote.

the Yes votes in the senate were  senate votes
 Adams           Hinkins         Okerlund        Valentine       
       Bramble         Jenkins         Reid            Van Tassell     
       Christensen     Knudson         Stephenson, H.  Waddoups        
       Davis           Liljenquist     Stevenson, J.   
       Dayton          Madsen          Thatcher        
       Hillyard        Niederhauser    Urquhart 
Salt Lake Tribune Experts say Utah's record laws would be no better than a
third world country and would allow corruption.  While still others believe 
Utah's current laws allow for corruption.  The 13 million dollar UDOT payout would
never have been made public if not for GRAMA requests, and the question of how UDOT
had an extra 13 million dollars they could pay out and no one missed still looms with no 
HB 477 changes 1,814 lines of existing Utah Code, and no one had any idea it was being
changed until 48 hours before it was a done deal.  Opinion Salt Lake Tribune 
throwing GRAMA from the train 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Brad Daw Votes to Restrict Access to Government Records

House Bill 477, restricting public access to many government records jogged through the House from committee to vote AFTER 3rd reading in less than 24 hours, only 24 hours after it was released.  House Bill 477 will be heard Friday March 4 at 3:00 in the Senate Rules Committee only one day after being passed in the House and 48 hours after it was publicly released.

61 House members voted for it including Brad Daw.  The following House members voted against it or were absent:

NAYS - 12
      Arent             Chavez-Houck      King              Poulson           
      Biskupski         Cosgrove          Litvack           Seelig            
      Briscoe           Fisher, Janice    Moss              Watkins           
      Duckworth, S      Wright 
In my opinion the real issues with this bill include the speed that 
is moving it from beginning to finish.    The Bill was unveiled 
Tuesday night and, completely passed in the House and heard in
committee in the Senate by Friday.  Why is that?  Why was this
bill saved for the fast track at the END of the session and how
did it get 60 votes in the House with only 15 minutes discussion?
Does this indicate lots of closed door planning prior to being 
released to the public and why are 61 House members willing to 
go along with it?  
House Vote  
HB477 Legislative Website 
Salt Lake Tribune  
Salt Lake Tribune 
Deseret News 
"Currently under GRAMA, the public can request copies of 
government  records, including communication between lawmakers
 and other  government figures. The bill would exempt certain 
forms of electronic communication  from those requests, including 
voice mails, text messages  and online  chats." 
   Deseret News Committee Vote HB 477 
HB 477 also requires the cost of expensive GRAMA requests to be 
covered by the person  making the request. 
Daily Herald 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Carl Wimmer's HJR37 Limits State Budget

I received the following e-mail from the state GOP party concerning Carl Wimmer's proposed Utah constitutional amendment.  His proposal would "limit the state's budget each year to the previous year's expenditures, with increases granted only for population growth and inflation."

I feel this is an important issue with relevance for Legislative 60 voters even though Carl Wimmer doesn't live in Utah County.

Fellow Republicans,
We are two weeks away from the conclusion of the 2011 Utah Legislative Session, yet some of the most substantial pieces of legislation still lie ahead.  The purpose of this email is to inform you of a state constitutional amendment which would be a significant yet prescient change to state policy, and to solicit your feed-back.
Utah may be among the nation's best managed states, and it may be poised to move forward in a recovering economy while many other states are in a prolonged crisis, but that doesn't mean the Beehive State couldn't benefit from some better rules.  According to information from the governor's office, between 1990 and 2009 the state's total budget grew 120 percent, and that is after adjusting for inflation. Without the inflation adjustment, state spending growth was a whopping 261 percent.   By comparison, Utah's population over that same period grew only 62 percent, and median household income -- a key consideration for government spending since every dollar the state spends starts out in taxpayers' pockets -- grew only 17 percent after adjusting for inflation.
Fortunately, Utah's spending problem is not as dire as that of other states such as California. But even California's state budget, adjusted for inflation, grew by a relatively modest 78 percent between 1990 and 2009.
Today's significant, painful spending cuts in the face of the current recession are the result of Utah's decades-long government spending spree.   As long as the state's spending policies and practices remain unchanged, Utahns can continue to expect more of this cycle of euphoric spending growth followed by painful budget cuts.  More importantly, without reasonable changes to state spending policy, Utah risks ending up like California at some point in the future: standing on the brink of bankruptcy, with little choice but to ravage essential government services via dramatic spending cuts and/or to devastate the population and economy through crippling tax increases.  Political pressures magnify the spending temptation for public officials, which is why unadjusted state spending in Utah has grown more than four times as fast as the state population.
The key to avoiding California's fate lies in enacting prudent, fiscally responsible changes to state spending policy in the Utah Constitution. These changes should: (1) create tough but reasonable restrictions on state spending growth in good times, while still maintaining flexibility for elected officials and government workers to do their jobs, and (2) save surplus revenues in preparation for bad financial times and for emergencies such as natural disasters.
I am currently sponsoring HJR37, which would limit the state's budget each year to the previous year's expenditures, with increases granted only for population growth and inflation. Any surplus funds would automatically go to the Rainy Day and emergency funds, and anything left over after those funds reached their statutory limits would be returned to the taxpayers.
In addition the  resolution would require the state to reduce its budget any time it passes on a requirement to a city, county or other political subdivision, putting an end to unfunded mandates that end up costing taxpayers twice as much while confusing the public, which tends to blame local government leaders for having to increase their share of taxes.
The bill would allow the state to override these restrictions with a two-thirds vote of the Legislature and a signature by the governor, thus allowing flexibility during a state crisis.
Utah already has a similar law in place to control the growth of cities, counties and other local governments. That law is even more restrictive, as it doesn't allow for inflation. But a recent Utah Foundation report found that this law has succeeded in keeping spending by those governments under control.
This constitutional amendment is to be heard this week, and I am soliciting feed-back from Utah Republicans from all walks of life.  I want to hear from you.  Please email me at to give me your input and feedback in this important piece of legislation.  I would also encourage you to let your elected officials know how you feel as well.

Thank you,
Carl Wimmer
Utah State Representative
District 52

Utah Legislature House Joint Resolution 37       Check the text of this bill as well as status from this site.